Should We Ask Permission To Write About People?


What responsibility do we have when we write about other people? Should we ask their permission in the way we’re portraying them? Should we ask to include them at all?

This is a subject I first considered when writing about my twin, and since then it’s cropped up several times. I generally try to keep any comments about other people positive, because it’s nice to be nice and sometimes I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy…, but from time to time people may get portrayed in a slightly more negative light than they deserve in the interests of humour.

When I began wrestling with it I took to the world of the Google to hunt down an answer from more experienced bloggers and was flabbergasted to discover.. nothing. Nada. Not one bit of advice to help little old Liza navigate the uncertain seas of blogging. It’s a question I’ve seen floating around on Twitter so I know I’m not the only one thinking about it, but it seems that no one has yet put fingers to keyboard to dissect this ethical dilemma (or maybe I just hard rubbish search terms, which is entirely feasible) and so I thought I might as well take a stab at it.

What I sense, from my five fantastic months in the blogging world, is that there is no concrete answer. In my Google perusals I saw discussions surrounding traditional writing and the inclusion of friends and family members and the general consensus seems to be that asking is a pretty nice way to go about things. That way you seem to avoid some of the backlash that can come from an unfavourable portrayal, or at least provide something of a warning.

Ultimately people aren’t always going to be happy with what you have to say, and that’s the risk we take when we write things about our personal life. I never want to offend, but I do want to entertain and I’m going to be much more careful about the balance I strike for the ones I love. And just to clear, any advice I write on here is never based solely on one person, it’s a mishmash of previous experiences that have lead me to form opinions and advice surrounding that topic.

What do you think? Do you write about people you know?